We all know that heartbreak hurts. Whether you have broken up with someone, lost a loved one, or lost your job, grieving is important. Each one of us has their own unique way of making it through the pain.
As per a 2010 study at Rutgers University, rejection activates the same areas of the brain as that of actual physical pain. Turning to drinking and ice cream may be satisfying for the short term, but they are not a long-term answer.
But getting physical, like running, is a healthier coping tool. Running stimulates brain chemicals that fight physical pain. Running’s’ stress-relieving, blood-pumping, mood-and-brain-boosting benefits, the things that make exercise good for you, make it especially valuable when suffering mentally and emotionally.
How Does Running Helps?
How running helps can be traced to endorphins, the feel-good brain chemicals that provide pain relief, ease depression and are responsible for thing called “runner’s high”, which is released during a run.
Also for dopamine, a neurotransmitter which is released during periods of intense cardiovascular activity, that has been shown to help counter mental dark clouds. As per a recent study from the Journal of Neuroscience, movement also increases the brain’s GABA neurotransmitters, which help in controlling fear and anxiety.
Based on a new study from the University of Arizona that studied male, cross country runners whose age ranges from 18–25, running helped improve thought patterns, brain connectivity and decision-making, things that are often compromised when you are upset. The improvement is an effect from running’s repetitive motions and the complex cognitive functions that are linked to it. When running, you are monitoring your surroundings, how you feel, etc. These thoughts force you to be in the moment and provides a temporary break from dwelling on your loss.
How much do you need to run?
You should not be overdoing it. Running for at least 30-60 minutes daily for five days should have a good impact on your mental health.
Running may be the last thing you want to do when you are in the throes of a broken heart, but experience and science say it is exactly what you need. Doing this activity can work wonders for you and your heart.